The Nazi government under Adolf Hitler saw architecture as a means of imposing fear and respect. Hitler, like many Germans, had an admiration of the ancient world, especially Greece and Rome.
In a time when art was changing rapidly, he deemed the avant-garde movement as degenerate.
Together with his chief architect, Albert Speer, Hitler revived a conservative, monolithic architectural style that impressed and scared many at the same time.
The Thousand-Year-Reich was to be demonstrated through the aesthetics of these structures, which showed Hitler’s undeniable power within Germany.
Even though many of these buildings never survived the war, some were spared the destruction, to remain as painful reminders of the regime, or to be put to use once again.
In this list, we will concentrate on some of those structures that are still present today.
10. Olympiastadion Berlin
The home of the most infamous Olympics ever to take place in history was built on the foundation of the Deutsche Stadion in the Grunewald Forrest.
The Summer Olympics in Berlin were scheduled in 1916, long before Hitler came to power, but they were postponed until 1936 due to World War I and the economic crisis.
Hitler saw the opportunity to stage a great propaganda event that would prove German superiority and align the German people as the successors to the Greek tradition.
The architects of the stadium were Albert and Werner March, the sons of Otto March who was supposed to handle the project before Hitler’s chancellorship.
Construction took place from 1934 to 1936. When the Olympiastadion was finished, it was 1.32 square kilometers (326 acres).
It consisted of (east to west): the Olympiastadion, the Maifeld (Mayfield, capacity of 50,000) and the Waldbühne amphitheater (capacity of 25,000), in addition to various places, buildings and facilities for different sports (such as football, swimming, equestrian events, and field hockey) in the northern part.
Even though German athletes collected most of the medals in the 1936 Summer Olympics, the success of Jesse Owens, an African-American sprinter who garnered four gold medals in the sprint and long-jump category, infuriated Hitler.
The stadium and the Games that took place in 1936 were depicted in a 1938 documentary film by Leni Riefenstahl, titled Olympia.
Today, the building is the home of the Hertha BSC football club.
9. Olympic Village Berlin
In addition to the giant stadium, an Olympic village was built in 1934. It is located at Estal in Wustermark, on the western edge of Berlin.
The site, which was 30 kilometers (19 mi) from the center of the city, consisted of one and two-floor dormitories, dining areas, a swimming pool, and training facilities.
It housed around 4,000 athletes from all over the world during the Summer Olympics. During the Second World War, it was used as a hospital for injured Wehrmacht soldiers.
In 1945, it was taken over by the Soviet Union and became a military camp of the Union occupation forces. Some sources claim that the village has been used as a KGB torture facility.
Recent efforts have been made to restore parts of the former village, but to no avail. Efforts are being made to restore the site into a living museum.
The dormitory building used by Jesse Owens has been fully restored, and tours are given daily to small groups and students.
8. Prora Holiday Resort
Prora is a beach resort located on the island of Rugen, Germany. It was built as part of the Strenght through Joy project in the period between 1936 and 1939.
The Strenght through Joy was a large-scale, state-operated leisure organization in Nazi Germany that promoted the advantages of National-Socialism. In the 1930s, it became the largest tourism operator in the world.
Prora beach resort was designed by Clemens Klotz, who won a design competition organized by Hitler and Speer. More than 9,000 workers were involved in the project.
The central building was 4,5 km long and it was located 150 meters away from the coastline.
It included eight housing blocks, swimming pools, and a cinema theater and it was supposed to house 20,000 guests at once.
The construction was interrupted because of the war. During the war, it was used as a refugee asylum and an auxiliary female personnel resort. After the war, it ended up on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain.
First, it became an Army Base for the Soviets and later, as the East German Army was founded in 1956, the beach resort was used for housing some its units.
It still stands today, on the island of Rugen, relatively preserved, but without further use.